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Bryan Preston

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October 16, 2012 - 12:53 pm

Last night I briefly noted a report in the New York Times regarding the rebellion in Syria. According to the Times, there is a loose system of delivering arms to the Syrian rebellion against dictator Bashar Assad via Saudi and Qatari sources. The US is not directly providing the arms, but is providing logistical support. During last week’s vice presidential debate, Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged the US role, saying “We are working hand and glove with the Turks, with the Jordanians, with the Saudis, and with all the people in the region attempting to identify the people who deserve the help so that when Assad goes — and he will go — there will be a legitimate government that follows on, not an al-Qaeda-sponsored government that follows on.”

But the Times reports that the arms are going exactly where the United States does not want them to go, and the Obama administration is aware of that.

American officials have been trying to understand why hard-line Islamists have received the lion’s share of the arms shipped to the Syrian opposition through the shadowy pipeline with roots in Qatar, and, to a lesser degree, Saudi Arabia. The officials, voicing frustration, say there is no central clearinghouse for the shipments, and no effective way of vetting the groups that ultimately receive them.

Those problems were central concerns for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David H. Petraeus, when he traveled secretly to Turkey last month, officials said.

The Times report continues, saying Petraeus has personally attempted to redirect the arms away from jihadists, but other US officials says that he has not tried to redirect the shipments. So there may be some confusion about Petraeus’ role in the Syrian rebellion.

But the larger issue stands: If the Times is correct, the US effort is resulting in arming and empowering the jihad in Syria, just as it did in Libya. According to Biden, “We are in the process now — and have been for months — in making sure that help, humanitarian aid, as well as other aid and training is getting to those forces that we believe, the Turks believe, the Jordanians believe, the Saudis believe are the free forces inside of Syria. That is underway.”

The Obama administration/campaign continues to engage in denial regarding the 9-11-12 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya and Cairo, Egypt. Despite the fact that an August 2012 Library of Congress report found that al Qaeda is leading a jihadist resurgence in Libya, the Obama campaign is running on its story that al Qaeda is “crippled” after the killing of Osama bin Laden. It blamed the attacks on a movie until the facts forced a course change two weeks later, despite the fact that jihadists had warned of attacking in Cairo days before it happened. They threatened to burn the embassy to the ground, which they failed to accomplish in Cairo but succeeded to do in Benghazi.

According to Marc Thiessen, the Times report proves that what Biden said about the Syrian rebellion is false:

Worse yet, Biden knew his statement was untrue when he said it. According to the Times, “President Obama and other senior officials are aware [of this conclusion] from classified assessments of the Syrian conflict that has now claimed more than 25,000 lives,” adding the intelligence assessments “casts into doubt whether the White House’s strategy of minimal and indirect intervention in the Syrian conflict is accomplishing its intended purpose of helping a democratic-minded opposition topple an oppressive government, or is instead sowing the seeds of future insurgencies hostile to the United States.”

Yet Biden looked the American people in the eye during that nationally televised debate and, without anyone to interrupt or laugh at him as he had done to Paul Ryan, lied. The Obama administration is arming the jihadists leading the Syrian rebellion, it knows that’s what’s happening, but is telling the public a different story.

It’s always possible that Biden does not know what the administration is doing. He declared during the same debate that Syria is five times larger than Libya (fact: Libya is 9.5 times larger than Syria). If he is not in the loop on Syria, he has no business saying things that are not true about it. Perhaps tonight President Obama will say that Biden was merely speaking for himself and not the president. In that case, what does the president know about the flow of arms to Syrian jihadists, and when did he first know it? Why did he allow Biden’s untrue statement to stand unchallenged?

Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.
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